FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 4
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Josh Allen ($8,900) and Lamar Jackson ($8,800): Through the first three weeks of this 2022 campaign, Allen, Jackson, and Jalen Hurts have arguably emerged as the "Big Three" at quarterback in fantasy football, with all of them averaging over 28 FanDuel points per game thus far.
They're getting it done both through the air and on the ground, and it's going to be difficult for the field to match their ceilings in any given week. All three are top-five in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back this season, and they're top-six in both rushing attempts and rushing yardage among quarterbacks.
And it just so happens that two of these fantasy superstars are going head-to-head this weekend. The Bills visit the Ravens for a highly-anticipated showdown featuring a slate-high 51.0 total, and while this doesn't rate as one of the faster games in terms of pace, it's the week's top overall game in pass rate over expectation, per our Brandon Gdula.
This is the only game with a total above 50 this week, and both Allen and Jackson are no-brainer top plays.
Jalen Hurts ($8,600): As far as ceiling is concerned, Hurts could have a slightly harder time getting there compared to the prior two in this matchup against Jacksonville. But let's face it, after his hot start, no one would be the least bit surprised if Hurts were to emerge with the top quarterback score.
This game has a solid if unspectacular 45.5 total, but the Eagles have the second-best implied team total on the board (26.00) as 6.5-point home favorites.
While both teams have performed well defensively thus far, there's room for optimism that this could turn into a fantasy-friendly game environment.
According to Football Outsiders, both teams are top-seven in situation-neutral pace, which could mean an uptick in offensive plays, and the underdog Jags shouldn't be underestimated on offense, as well. Per numberFire's metrics, Trevor Lawrence actually ranks sixth in Passing NEP per drop back, sitting just behind Allen and Jackson, and he even ranks first in Passing Success Rate.
If the upstart Jaguars can hold up their end of the bargain, it can only help Hurts' fantasy potential on Sunday.
Marcus Mariota ($7,300): There is one area of concern for the aforementioned trio, and it's that the weather isn't looking great in either Baltimore or Philadelphia, with both rain and fairly high winds in the forecast. While that shouldn't take us off of them completely, if winds stay up at roughly 15 mph or higher, it could have a negative impact on their ceilings.
If that ends up being the case, who else could emerge above the rest?
Well, if you're willing to take a chance, it isn't crazy to consider Mariota.
Mariota hasn't shown a ton of upside to this point, failing to reach 20 FanDuel points in any start this season, and it's fair to question whether he realistically has a tournament-winning ceiling.
But his rushing ability possibly leaves the door open for more. Among quarterbacks, he's tied for fourth in rushing attempts and sixth in rushing yardage, and he also already has two scores on the ground.
Although Mariota's averaging just 26.3 pass attempts per game, he's been more efficient than you might think through the air, too, ranking seventh in Passing NEP per drop back.
The Falcons are hosting the Browns, and while that might not move the needle at first glance, it's a matchup showing the slate's second-highest total (47.5). According to numberFire's metrics, both teams rank top-10 in adjusted offense while also ranking bottom-10 in adjusted defense.
Despite featuring two run-heavy attacks, there could be sneaky fantasy potential in this game, and it can't hurt that it's also being played in a dome.
Saquon Barkley ($8,100): Barkley has averaged 27.7 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets), the league's third-highest mark in the early going. On top of that, he leads the position in scrimmage yards per game (136.0), snap rate (86.7%), and route rate (67.6%), and he's fourth in target share (17.6%). Quarterback Daniel Jones is his biggest threat to red zone touches, but Barkley is still seeing a team-high 54.5% red zone rushing share.
His usage is about as good as you could ever hope for, and yet he has just the sixth-highest salary at the position.
The main negative is that this matchup against Chicago is tied for the slate's lowest over/under (39.5), so touchdowns could be few and far between. And yet, despite none of the Giants' games exceeding a combined score of 41 points this season, Barkley's volume has still allowed him to score 30.4, 10.3, and 20.6 FanDuel points.
When accounting for salary, Barkley is arguably the top overall play at running back.
Jamaal Williams ($7,400): With D'Andre Swift ruled out, Williams will be the lead back for Detroit, and he will almost certainly be a popular mid-range play. In Week 3, Williams saw a season-high 43.4% snap rate and 24 adjusted opportunities (20 carries and 2 targets), which is a promising sign for his volume while Swift is out.
However, there could be some limitations to Williams' role. He's seen minimal usage in the passing game, logging just a 4.6% target share and 19.0% route rate, which has led to just five combined targets in three weeks. Williams hasn't been a zero as a receiver over his career -- he actually had a nine-target game in Week 1 last year -- but the lack of work is concerning.
Additionally, given the way Detroit has used Swift and Williams in tandem, third-string running back Craig Reynolds should see prominent snaps behind Williams, further eating into the latter's upside.
All that being said, the most enticing part of Williams' workload to this point has been his stranglehold on red zone carries, with his 78.6% share being the league's fifth-highest mark. That's helped him to two multi-score games already even while splitting time with Swift.
He has a great opportunity to add to that tally, as the Lions are 3.5-point home favorites over the Seahawks and have the slate's third-best implied total (25.50).
But his role as a pass-catcher has helped him log 31, 23, and 25 adjusted opportunities, which are pretty enticing marks at this salary. Among NFL running backs, Williams ranks 1st in target share (20.8%) and 11th in route rate (51.3%).
It hasn't amounted to much in the box score yet, but that has more to do with a lack of touchdowns, the byproduct of the Broncos' sluggish offense notching just three scores as a unit thus far.
Perhaps a date with the winless Raiders helps jumpstart this offense and helps Williams finally find the end zone. Las Vegas ranks 26th in total adjusted defense and 19th versus the run; they've allowed the third-most FanDuel points to opposing backfields this season.
Devin Singletary ($6,200): Assuming we get a back-and-forth game between the Bills and Ravens, that could mean a similar workload for Singletary as we saw in Week 3. In a close loss to Miami, Singletary recorded 31 adjusted opportunities behind a whopping 11 targets, leading the backfield with a 74.4% snap rate, 49.3% route rate, and 19.3% target share.
Considering Singletary only averaged 13.0 adjusted opportunities with a 56.1% snap rate and 8.6% target share over the first two weeks, there's some risk that his role could vary wildly from game to game. But he still saw an encouraging 41.9% route rate in those contests, and his usage was likely affected by those games both being blowout wins.
A blowout is hard to foresee against Lamar Jackson and friends, and that could lead to another busy day at the office for Singletary.
Davante Adams ($7,900): After blowing up in Week 1, Adams has been relatively quiet over the past two games, and this matchup is a tough one against Denver. Still, this isn't a bad salary to buy back in.
In numberFire's projections, Adams is essentially tied with Stefon Diggs ($8,700) for tops at the position, and at his lower cap hit, Adams rates as one of the better point-per-dollar values.
We haven't seen Adams dominate targets as much since his Raiders debut, but with an 0-4 record looming if they lose yet again, one would think Las Vegas will try to lean on their star wideout. Overall, he still has a healthy 29.3% target share and 37.6% air yards share through three weeks, and he rarely leaves the field (97.3% snap rate).
Adams is also seeing heavy usage in the red zone. He leads the league in red zone targets (10), which has helped him score a touchdown in every game so far.
The bad news is that the Broncos rank fourth in adjusted pass defense, and pace could also be an issue in this game. But as long as the volume is there, we could still see Adams come away with a spike week.
CeeDee Lamb ($6,800): Rostering a player tied to Cooper Rush in a low-total game would typically be a tough sell, but Lamb's recorded a 38.3% target share and 52.9% air yards share over the past two weeks. That'll get our attention.
In fact, if we look at his usage across all three weeks, Lamb ranks second among all wideouts in target share behind only Cooper Kupp, and he's fourth in air yards share. He's seen double-digit targets in every game, and he finally cashed in with a touchdown on Monday, helping him to a season-best 18.7 FanDuel points.
Courtland Sutton ($6,800): Buying into this Denver offense is frightening, but as we're seeing on both sides of this game, there's value here if these offenses come to play.
Sutton's posted a 27.7% target share and 47.7% air yards share and has averaged the sixth-most receiving yards per game (97.0) among wide receivers. Only Amari Cooper has seen a higher share of air yards this season.
Of course, like most players in this offense, a lack of touchdowns has prevented Sutton from a big DFS week. Perhaps Russell Wilson finally gets cooking against a Raiders pass defense that ranks as the fourth-worst in numberFire's metrics.
Drake London ($6,300): London is another guy whose usage pops relative to his salary. Among wideouts, the rookie is 4th in target share (32.9%) and top-25 in air yards share (34.8%). Since he saw his snaps rise in Week 2, he's tops in target share (40.9%) over the last two weeks, as well.
However, given the lack of passing volume in this offense, London's raw targets will fluctuate more than other top wideouts in spite of his high market share, and he's averaged just 8.3 per game.
That potentially lowers his assumed floor, but as noted regarding Mariota, this game against the Browns is showing some fantasy potential. It's worth noting that the Falcons' prior games have combined for 53, 58, and 50 points, too.
Mark Andrews ($8,400): If you have the salary, Andrews is clearly the premier play at tight end, boasting an absurd 36.5% target share and 38.2% air yards share typically reserved for wideouts. No other tight end has a target share above even 24% and only Kyle Pitts ($6,100) has an air yards share above 30%.
Andrews has scored over 20 FanDuel points in back-to-back weeks, and a potential shootout against the Bills could lead to another ceiling game.
T.J. Hockenson ($5,400): On the budget side of things, Hockenson projects as the best value among tight ends below $6,000. While his 16.7% target share could be better, he ranks well among right ends in snap rate (84.7%) and route rate (75.0%).
With both Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown sidelined this week, Hockenson could see a bump in the passing game, and the matchup is a good one versus Seattle. The Seahawks rank 31st in adjusted pass defense.
Of course, this has more to do with Mitchell Trubisky being on the other side than anything else. Among starting quarterbacks, Trubisky has produced the fifth-worst Passing NEP per drop back and the third-worst Passing Success Rate. New York may not have a particularly strong defense, but even they may be able to capitalize against this anemic passing attack.
Arizona D/ST ($3,200) and Las Vegas D/ST ($3,000): We're scraping the bottom of the barrel with these two defenses, but they actually rate as the top values if you can stomach it. Much like the Jets, this is all about the matchups.
Arizona is actually the worst adjusted total defense in numberFire's rankings, but Baker Mayfield has struggled mightily for the Panthers with the sixth-worst Passing NEP per drop back and second-worst Passing Success Rate. Add in that the Panthers could be missing Christian McCaffrey, and there could be a path towards the Cardinals' D putting up a surprise performance.
Likewise, the Raiders' defense is nothing special, but the Broncos' offensive woes are well-documented, and it's always possible that this trend continues. While Russell Wilson isn't in the same category as Trubisky or Mayfield, he's put up the fifth-worst Passing Success Rate and has already been sacked nine times. Unlike the Jets or Cardinals, the Raiders are also playing at home as slight favorites, which is another factor in their favor.